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Virgin Atlantic to end all flights to Dubai next year

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Virgin Atlantic has announced that it is cancelling all flights to Dubai from 31st March 2019.

As a regular traveller on the route, I always struggled with Virgin. 

Virgin Atlantic to drop Dubai route

The outbound flight from the UK is overnight which, whilst it may suit some business travellers (albeit you are heading straight into work after 2-3 hours sleep at most), didn’t work for the leisure market.  Arriving in Dubai at 8am with no hotel room to check into and sleep-deprived kids is not fun.

The British Airways options are not great either, with the first Heathrow service leaving at 12.55 which gets you in very late.  The sweet spot is taking the 9-ish services on Emirates or Etihad (to Abu Dhabi, a short taxi ride away) which land around 8pm.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 bonus points (SPECIAL OFFER TO 2ND OCTOBER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (105)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Marcw says:

    I mean… why would you travel to almost the other end of the world to park yourself into a resort like this? My rule of thumb is that, when visiting countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia… I stay 90% of the nights in local small hotels. Only 10% in international chains. I believe staying in local small hotels your 20£ stay has a bigger impact in their society than a 200£ stay in a big resort. But that’s my personal opinion.

    • George says:

      Because (most) HfPs readers have more money than sense?

      There are several threads on MSE that give good advice as to how to actually see the country as opposed to hiding in big business resorts.

    • Alex says:

      My reason for not staying in chain hotels is that they are almost identical whether it’s Philippines or Armenia or USA – what’s the point going somewhere very far and then staying in the place that is the same as all others you stayed in before?

      • ankomonkey says:

        Similarly, when I went to Cancun and Sharm-el-Sheik I really felt both had lost all local-ness and were just faceless ‘international’ blandness. YMMV.

        • the real harry1 says:

          you should have gone a bit further to Playa del Carmen, I stayed there for a couple of weeks way back then and even at that time driving past Cancun gave me a cold shudder; great diving out of Playa del Carmen & a pleasant town, you’re always going to get loud ‘Northerners’ (so to speak! 🙂 ) but not in such numbers that they spoil your holiday.

          agree about Sharm el Sheik but I immediately transferred to the (liveaboard) dive boat and only really saw the town for 1 evening before flying home, not a place I’d like to holiday but again the diving was great

        • Cat says:

          Go even further ankomonkey and harry! For Mexico, I’m not sure if Tulum is still the paradise it once was, but between the lovely boutique hotels there and on Isla Holbox (swimming with whale sharks!), I had a fantastic holiday.

          I really liked Marsa Alam for low key Red Sea diving and just gorgeous beautiful beaches, without feeling trapped in all-inclusive resort hell.

    • Peter K says:

      Because you want to feel safe? Because you have a food intolerance that needs catering for? Because you like the knowledge that the place you booked won’t have bedbugs/cockroaches etc? Because you have mobility issues that need catering for? I’m sure there will be other reasons as well.

      • David says:

        Ha – we had a cockroach in our 23rd floor room of the Hilton Osaka! Managed to knock £100 of spa treatments off the bill as a result 🙂

    • Lumma says:

      I don’t get the whole chain thing wherever I go in the world, I much rather stay somewhere cheap and experience the city and no room upgrade, free breakfast or lounge access can make up for that.

    • Andrew MS says:

      Well said . I am off to Phu Quoc in November and staying loca place , looks lovely for £60 per night . I want to relax not be pestered by the staff

      • Dylan says:

        One thing to note is that most hotel chains are actually locally owned… the chain just provides marketing, sales, and standards. So a well run chain with a local owner that cares can be quite nice.

        That said, I agree with all of the other points about not paying western rates and getting a more differentiated experience.

        Sometimes the chain hotel and the local hotel next door are actually owned and operated by the same company.

    • Phil says:

      Yeah, this isn’t a place where people want info on luxury hotels etc.
      And obviously if you did travel to the other side of the world and waste your time in somewhere nice you would never go outside the hotel gates

    • Genghis says:

      I started off travelling as a youngster staying in youth hostel dorms, then to cheaper hotels and now i have a bit of money at “nice” places, whether chain or independent. I may be shot down for this but going to different counties unfamiliar to your own, it’s always nice going back to somewhere clean which feels luxurious, it is “holiday”.

      • Guesswho2000 says:

        I agree with this. I did my time in hostels like the Bulldog in Amsterdam, and worse, in my late teens/early 20s!

        I prefer a mix now, for example I recently stayed in a number of locally owned places in Vietnam and Cambodia, but on my way home (Melbourne) I stayed in a suite at the Marriott SkyCity in Hong Kong.

        That’s the relaxation element once the culture and sightseeing is done, prior to a 10 hour flight home, with an Exec lounge to relax in and have a few drinks!

        • Cat says:

          I’ve been accused of being a flashpacker by old backpacking friends. It’s probably fairly accurate TBH. More than anything else, I love travelling the world to find the most stunning spots, ideally in the middle of nowhere, with hardly anyone else around! I realise I’m an anomaly on this forum, but my ultimate destination is usually a NP, or a remote beach, or a lake to kayak across. These days I quite like getting there in first class though (because I can)! When I arrive and leave, I’ll usually stay in a fancy hotel in the city, but once I head out to smaller towns or the middle of nowhere, I try to stay in smaller family run boutique hotels and guesthouses (ideally nice ones that are cockroach free!).
          I still insist on carrying a rucksack though. Suitcases would feel wrong. Actually, I usually have two rucksacks – my 65L one on my back, and my 30L camera bag which I wear the wrong way round. I suspect I look rather like a giant tortoise.

      • Lawro says:


    • Mzungu says:

      I was about to post something very similar. We toured Vietnam in 2016. When I was researching hotels on TripAdvisor and the like, I was surprised that the highest ranked hotels in some locations were about 12th – then I realised that I had a filter for 4* and 5*! Removed that, and bingo, the highest ranked hotels were 3* 🙂
      I booked a mixture in the end, but stayed in a couple of great 3* hotels in Hanoi and Hue for about $50/night including breakfast. The one in Hue also did good evening meal as we arrived late.
      Wouldn’t hesitate to do the same again.

    • Sam says:

      More than that, I wonder how you can build a 459 room high rise in a “UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve” – sounds massively counter intuitive.

      “Wonder what would help protect this UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. I know – 100 million tonnes of concrete”

  • barnaby100 says:

    OT but the thread is locked. The slings by and harrogate gin has gone form the lounge at LBA, back to Gordons, Beefeater and Bombay. Apparently they are going to refurbish it after 10 weeks open- it is a ridiculous business lounge- 2 sets of sockets plus one where you can sit on the floor in the corridor. Appalling acoustics. Cold coffee from a machine. Certainly not an improvement on what was there before- which is now a Starbucks.

  • Ian says:


    I’ve been waiting for the BA sale that for the last few years has always started by now. Had anyone heard any rumours of if/when it’s going to happen?

  • G says:

    OT – looking to pay my TV licence via amex. The back says you can pay via paypoint. Took it to the coop and lady could not get the code to scan and I was told it could only be paid in at the post office. Anybody else had better luck at coop?

    • the real harry1 says:

      Paid mine at Paypoint in Texaco just a few weeks ago, yep scanned barcode

      However, I am on the TV licence payment scheme which is easy to google if interested

      • Alex W says:

        This scheme is a right con. You have to pay for your TV licence 6 months in advance of your renewal date. No thanks! That would cost more in lost interest than any points I could earn by paying early.

  • AlanC says:

    O/T Got a $50 and $25 Amex Hilton Business Gift Cards from Hilton CS.
    Any idea how to use in the UK?


    • David says:

      Easy to use at check out, they’ll do a currency conversion and get as close to the $ amount as they can.

  • Craig says:

    OT: Looking at 10 days in Dubai/RAK for Jan. Does anyone have recent experience of the Intercontinental or Hilton in Fujairah. IHG would be free on points, Hilton would be points and cash but free breakfast as Diamond?

  • Graham Walsh says:

    That’s a shame re Virgin to Dubai, flown VS all but once to DXB. Going again in October.

    OT – Still not received my letter re any Virgin CC bonus offer.

  • john says:

    > Confusingly, the routing actually goes:
    > Beijing-Dublin-Edinburgh-Beijing on Thursdays and Sundays
    > Beijing-Edinburgh-Dublin-Beijing on Tuesdays and Saturdays

    It’s not really that confusing.. It’s Beijing-Dublin-Edinburgh-Beijing-Edinburgh-Dublin-Beijing

    It provides a direct Beijing outbound and return flight from each of Dublin and Edinburgh without having to go via Dub/Edi if you book the correct day which makes sense rather than the outbound routing being different to the inbound.

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